The first time I learned about silence as a practice was when I read the book, “Awakening Spirits” by Tom Brown Jr. I used the techniques it described to begin a daily meditation practice that opened something up in me and contributed to one of the high points of my life. Over time, however, the practice faded, as other priorities, which I deemed more important, took its place.
Years later, I had the good fortune of signing up for a workshop put on by Cleargreen, the organization set up by Carlos Castaneda before his death. Two weeks before the event, all the participants received instructions on how to meditate for ten minutes each morning, and ten minutes each night. When the workshop arrived, and I joined many others in this same pursuit, the result was very powerful. My meditation practice grew from doing it in the morning and night to doing it throughout the day as well, and a world of well-being and plenitude opened up before me. Again, however, if I must admit, the practice went by the wayside, replaced over time by enervation and worry.
When life becomes a problem, we can get lost in endless rumination trying to solve it. If we’re lucky, the situation becomes so dire, or we are handed some responsibility where we are forced to take action to tighten up our lives, and then we can begin the slow journey back and maybe, just maybe, experience silence again.
The main purpose of a spiritual teacher, other than their ability to take us into silence, is to push us to consistently practice it. Since we lack direct teachers, we must be doubly vigilant, and doubly thankful to those who invited us in to this wonderful realm, where all life, all spontaneity and surprise are rediscovered.